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Go-getting Fernando and Kirsty Stovell have turned this 16th-century Surrey farmhouse into a classy little destination with country comforts and bags of culinary ambition. Inside it’s a “traditional kind of place” with gnarled beams, mullioned windows and low ceilings sitting happily alongside deep-pile carpets and crisp white tablecloths. A “good time” is guaranteed and eating here is “always a delight”, notes one fan. The kitchen fashions complex, finely honed dishes strewn with wild pickings – witness roast lemon sole with broad beans, lemon verbena and coastal herbs or a ‘nose-to-tail’ dish of rabbit accompanied by fermented turnips, pistachio, chickweed purée and yarrow. There are also lots of global influences at play – from Corrèze veal carpaccio with jalapeño and ponzu dashi to wood-roasted duck shawarma with pickled red cabbage, garlic, yoghurt and cucumber. To finish, Kirsty’s pastry work is a wonder to behold – try her New York cheesecake with sour-cream ice cream and Gariguette strawberries. Pleasant “well-timed service” is much appreciated, and the global wine list offers plenty of keenly priced drinking; also check out the barrel-aged cocktails and home-distilled gin.
Square Meal’s Best Restaurants in the UK 2015 is compiled using votes from our annual survey, last conducted in May and June 2015. Thousands of readers and bloggers took part and the results were moderated by the Square Meal editor and his nationwide team of professional reviewers. The survey does not ask for or include any restaurants in London. Click here for a full list of Square Meal’s Best Restaurants in the UK.
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